The Messianic secret (Mt 16:20-16:20)

“Then Jesus sternly instructed

The disciples

Not to tell anyone

That he was the Christ.”


τότε ἐπετίμησεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς ἵνα μηδενὶ εἴπωσιν ὅτι αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός.


This warning about the messianic secret can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 8:30, Luke, chapter 9:21, and here.  However, this warning came right after the Peter’s response in Mark and Luke since they did not have the unique Matthew reward for Peter.  Jesus, in some ironic way, did not want the people to know that he was the Messiah or the Christ.  Thus, the name “Jesus Christ” did not take hold until after his death and resurrection.  Then Jesus sternly ordered, instructed, or charged his disciples (τότε ἐπετίμησεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς) that they were not to tell anyone (ἵνα μηδενὶ εἴπωσιν) that he was the Christ (ὅτι αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός) or the Israelite Messiah, just like he had done in chapter 8:4 and chapter 12:16.  This messianic secret was even stronger in Mark.  Only the elite followers of Jesus knew that he was the Christ messiah, much like a gnostic special knowledge.